I’m Still Here

Missing us? I just noticed I didn’t post something on the blog in July. Shame on me! So here’s a quick update…

Well, there was a lot happening, I had good days, I had bad days. There were some unexpected issues concerning the inheritance from my father and the real estate sales. And summer doesn’t seem to start overhere.

Two weeks ago we were all shocked by the disaster floods. It was one of the greatest natural disasters Belgium has ever known. It cost the lives of many people. I’m lucky to live in an area that was spared.

Last week I invited a few friends to celebrate a special day. All of my friends and family are vaccinated but we still follow the Covid-19 rules, just to be safe and sure. We had delicious desserts, wine and coffee outside in the garden. Jimi seemed to enjoy the people hanging around and had some treats too.

Jimi loves my garden and is always trying to catch some butterflies in the large bushes of lavender. He also tries to catch mice in the stone walls and waits patiently for hours…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding. 

A New Routine

‘What if I fall? Oh but my darling: what if you fly?’ – Erin Hanson

Life goes on. I feel that I am ready picking up where we left off then. My Dad passed away about a month ago. We had an intimate ceremony with only 15 people, due to the Covid-19 measures. But I received a lot of messages, phone calls, postcards of people paying respect to my Dad. He was loved by so many people… I still feel an emptiness in my life without him. And pain. Sorrow… But life goes on as normal, but quieter and greyer than usual.

I want to thank you with all my heart. All your heartwarming comments made me feel better and helped me get through these empty and sad days. I sincerely apologise for not replying to your comments. I guess I also missed some of your posts on your blogs. But I will try to catch up…

Jimi helped me to get through the dark days of January. Every day he took a few minutes to sit down by the photograph of my Dad. It made me feel good. But one day, Jimi was very disappointed because there were only vegetables and no shrimps (for him) on my sandwich.

There were also some good days last month. After waiting for 3 months, finally, a big box arrived from the U.S. of A. containing a Sequential Prophet-5 synthesizer. Just like I mentioned in an older post about the ARP 2600 synth, the Prophet-5 synth was also very high on my bucket list and I didn’t expect to get one. Sequential introduced new versions of the old model in 2020. The Prophet-5 is an analog synthesizer designed in 1978 by Dave Smith and John Bowen and was the first fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer.

So yes, life goes on, it’s a cliché and it sounds trite. I will find a new routine and get used to it. But it will take some time. Please stay safe and healthy.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

‘Count your blessings. And if life is difficult, count them louder.’ – Roger Scruton

Farewell, My Dear Dad

With teardrops running down my face, I bid you farewell. It is with great sadness and deep regret that I inform you of the passing of my Dad. My Dad passed away on Sunday, December 27. 

My father passed away peacefully in his sleep but I am so grateful I spoke to his deepest soul that evening while he was holding and squeezing my hand. 

Burying my father this Saturday was one of the hardest things I ever did. But I am happy he’s back home, in the village where he lived for almost 95 years. And I believe he’s reunited with my mother, sister and brother, up there.

I know you are listening out there, somewhere. There are no goodbyes. May you rest in peace, my dear Dad. Your memories will never be forgotten. 

º 11-03-1925/† 27-12-2020

About My Dad (and Jimi)

Update about my dad. My dad is living in a retirement home for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It was a very hard decision we had to make, especially in these Covid-19 times… He stayed one week in isolation and was tested twice for Covid-19. Thank goodness the results were negative. Since last week he can move around free in this home and have contact with other inhabitants. I moved some furniture, pictures and photographs from his apartment to his new room. It looks like he’s still living in his apartment. Right now it seems he’s happy in his new environment. The staff are wonderful and devoted people. I really believe and hope he’s going to have some good years ahead…

The evenings are very difficult for my dad, he doesn’t like darkness. I’m keeping a lot of lights on and keeps him company until it’s bedtime. We’re watching football (soccer) on tv and he really enjoys this time with me.

I know it’s a hard time for me, but I still feel like there’s a lot of good in this world. Professional people told me I need at least 3 weeks to get used to this new situation. For the first time in my life I’m having lunch and dinner alone by myself. Due to the Covid-19 measurers, I can’t invite family or friends to my home. But Jimi seems to be very happy now we’re sharing more time together. Yesterday, he was faced with a difficult choice to pick the right box.

I want to thank you with all my heart. All your heartwarming comments made me feel better and helped me get through these hard times. I sincerely apologise for not replying to your comments.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

About My Dad

Update. As you probably noticed, it’s very quiet on the HoB blog. I won’t be posting a lot in the near future due to the health situation of my dad. Last weeks/months, his health has been deteriorating and his isolated way of living (due to the Covid-19 situation) aggravates dementia. Dad needs supervision 24 hours a day. We are doing everything to find good help and support but it’s very difficult because of the pandemic. I will keep you informed.  

Jimi is doing well but he misses me a lot because I’m spending a lot of time with my dad. A few days ago Jimi went AWOL because I didn’t close the front door. Thank goodness he returned back home after 5 hours.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 situation is even worse than during the first wave early this year. Our country is going in lockdown mode for at least six weeks. Thank you so much, you selfish idiots ignoring all the rules and instructions. Shame on you! 

One more thing… For my American friends and followers, please be wise and do the right thing.

Be safe, careful and take care, my friends.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

94

Hooray! Today, some local officials, dressed in traditional folkloric costumes, payed tribute to my Dad because he’s still one of the oldest inhabitants of the village. This is a regular annual tradition. My father turned 94 a few days ago. As always, we had a small celebration with chocolates (of course) and coffee. Many happy returns, Dad!

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

Catch

Early in the morning or late in the evening. This is the best time of the day to catch my Dad. Local authorities start to take action against the heatwave and the extreme drought. The Flemish public health authority issued the following advice: ‘drink sufficiently, eat ice cream, and keep yourself and your home cool”. It also advised taking care of others. “Keep an eye on children and animals. Go and visit older people, cats or those who live alone. Are they drinking enough?” the authority said in a statement. “Is their clothing suitable for the temperature? Do they have a cool place to relax?”

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

93

Hooray! My father turned 93 today. We had a small celebration with chocolates (of course) and coffee.

 Last week, some local officials, dressed in traditional folkloric costumes, payed tribute to my Dad because he’s still one of the oldest inhabitants of the village. This is a regular annual tradition. Many happy returns!

Happy Birthday to you, Dad!

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Eight

Mr. Bowie turns eight today. I don’t remember much about my eighth birthday or any of my birthdays of the past, really. But hey, it’s not about me, it’s about our little big hero, Mr. Bowie.

My Dad took his bike, went for a ride and surprised us with a visit. We had espressos and chocolate. Happy Birthday Mr. Bowie! Catnip and treats for the furry ones.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

The Oldest and the Youngest

Life goes on… and on. A week after my sister passed away, my father turned 92. It was a very strange day. We had a small celebration with chocolates, cookies and coffee. It all happened in a serene and depressed atmosphere.

A few days later some local officials, dressed in traditional folkloric costumes, payed tribute to my Dad because he’s one of the oldest inhabitants of the village. This is a regular annual tradition. Many happy returns!

Thank you so very much for your help, kindness, compassion and sympathy at one of the most difficult times of our lives.

Newsflash #8

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We had something to celebrate today. Dad is one of the oldest inhabitants of the village. Some local officials, dressed in traditional folkloric costumes, payed tribute to him this Sunday afternoon. This is a regular annual tradition. Many happy returns!

Next Wednesday, my Dad turns 90. There will be a Birthday Party with Birthday cake, Belgian soft-centre pralines, and other delicious stuff!

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Frederik, the oldest great-grandchild in my family, asked if he could try out the special headgear of the local Prince. I think Mr. Bowie would love the feather on top of it…

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Facing the Elements

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Facing the cold. It was a bright cold day, yesterday. When the cold weather comes, a lot of people hang up the bikes for the winter. But not my Dad, he surprised us with a visit. He’s one tough dude! We had espressos and chocolate. And cat treats for Mr. Bowie, of course… They enjoy being together. My Dad turns 90 in March.

Dad & Mr. Bowie

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Life is too short to worry about stupid things. I’m going through a major transitional period right now. But these two boys have always helped me through tough times over the years. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Mr. Bowie.

Let’s shake hands. Let’s shake paws. Don’t let people bring you down. Have fun and regret nothing. Life is too short to waste on negativity.

Facts About July 26, 2014

July 26 is the 207th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 158 days remaining until the end of the year. Mr. Bowie’s Gotcha Day was a week ago. My birthday was a week ago. Unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone the party and move it to July 26.

Fact #1: As a self-confessed perfectionist, Mr. Bowie couldn’t wait to impress his first party guests with hospitality. Mr. Bowie was responsible for greeting and welcoming guests. A guest’s first impression is even more critical these days because of social media. The human made his Wi-Fi network available for everyone.

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Fact #2: All guests received a special badge. These badges gave the guests special privileges at the dessert buffet. No party is complete without a table filled with chocolate mousse, pudding, cake, ice cream, blueberries and fresh fruit salad.

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Fact #3: The best festive drinks. Just like last year, the fabulous vodka cocktail recipe and the intense Gato Negro Chardonnay from Chile made the Gotcha Day party a delicious success. It was hard to convince Mr. Bowie to only drink water. We all deal with setbacks, Mr. Bowie, but we can overcome them.

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Fact #4: Party crashers beware! Whether the concern is party crashers or paparazzi, security is a smart way to create a safe and comfortable environment for Mr. Bowie’s guests. My 89-year-old Dad got back on his bike to come to the party and he entertained a famous Belgian celebrity.

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Fact #5: Mr. Bowie loves kids! Mr. Bowie didn’t leave the kids alone at the party. He was prepared and took care of them. Mr. Bowie took the kids for a walk and he even gave away his favourite football cards.

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Fact #6: Precautionary measures were taken. Last year, kids formed a coalition and kicked my ass during a water fight. This time, a powerful water gun was safely hidden away from the kids.

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Fact #7: Never lose sight of your cake. Never lose sight of Mr. Bowie. We did.

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Thank you all for showing up that day. You gave me such a wonderful time. I love you all.

Dear HoB visitors and followers, I deeply appreciate your kindness in reading, following and leaving comments on my blog posts. Mr. Bowie says “Meow!”

PS: No photographic evidence, sorry. Totally forgot to take photos of the main dessert buffet table but I can assure you it was delicious!

 

Being Cool

Why do celebrities wear sunglasses indoors? Well, to look cool and to help them see while all the lights are focused on them, i.e. flash photography, spotlights… That’s why Mr. Bowie was interested in my Dad’s sunglasses.

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My Dad braved the winter chill just to say hello to Mr. Bowie and see how he’s doing.

Update: We have made an appointment with an experienced cat dermatologist next Monday. The lab results were negative but Mr. Bowie’s ear problem isn’t solved yet. I’m so disappointed right now…

Averbode

Time flies when you’re having fun. My three-week vacation is almost over. I had a great time. It was my best vacation in four years time, thanks to my family and best friends. Yesterday, I went to visit the Averbode Abbey.

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Averbode Abbey is a Premonstratensian monastery situated near Diest (Flemish Brabant), in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium. It was founded about 1134-1135 by Count Arnold II of Loon. With land donations from the Abbey of Sint-Truiden, the lords of Aarschot and Diest, and some years later Godfrey III of Leuven, the abbey was situated right on the border of the County of Loon and the Duchy of Brabant. The first monks and abbot Andreas came from the Sint-Michielsabdij in Antwerp, founded in 1124. (Source: Wikipedia)

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You can also discover probably the best ice cream in Belgium. Just ask my Dad.

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Facts About July 21, 2013 Part 2

July 21 is the 202nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 163 days remaining until the end of the year. I was born on July 21, some say it was on July 22, though. July 21 is also Mr. Bowie’s Gotcha Day.

Fact #6: It was a hot day. But it was fun to be outside on this hot, sunny day.

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Fact #7: Prepare your weapons to hold a water fight. Keep in mind: kids will form a coalition and kick your ass.

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Fact #8: White wine from Molina – Chile. This intense Chardonnay is clean and light yellow in colour, with aromas of peaches, tropical fruit such as pineapple, and a hint of banana that blend beautifully with a rich note of vanilla. Bright acidity enhances the fresh fruit flavours and lends perfect balance to the sweet sensation that lingers on the deliciously long and pleasing finish.

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Fact #9: The future’s so bright. Girls gotta wear shades and drink a Linizio Lungo.

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Fact #10: It was a private party. No doggies allowed. It was forbidden to feed Mr. Bowie. Some of the guests asked me not to put their photos on HoB. I respect that. It’s not easy being a celebrity, you can ask Mr. Bowie.

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Hail to the King! Hail to Mr. Bowie! Hail to myself!

Related post on HoB: Something Big Is About To Happen, A Matter of National Interest,  (Almost) A Full Moon, This Must Be the Place and  Facts About July 21, 2013 Part 1.

Facts About July 21, 2013 Part 1

July 21 is the 202nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 163 days remaining until the end of the year. I was born on July 21, some say it was on July 22, though. July 21 is also Mr. Bowie’s Gotcha Day.

Fact #1: New King In Town. Belgium celebrated both independence day and the coronation of Prince Philippe and his wife, Mathilde, as king and queen. As I said before, in my opinion this is unsatisfactory. No, I am not a royalist. Not at all. Mr. Bowie was ready for the job. I say, Mr. Bowie for King or President!

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Fact #2: Blue Skies. Ideal weather conditions for a guerrilla-surprise-pudding-party! The birthday cake was a surprise gift from my Dad.

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Fact #3: Free Tattoo. Every guest got a free Mr. Bowie-Paw-Tattoo, even this young talented football player from FC Barcelona.

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Fact #4: 87. Age difference means nothing at a guerrilla-surprise-pudding-party. Who were the oldest and youngest guest? My Dad and Alice, his great-grandchild.

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Fact #5: The blonde pillow thief didn’t show up. I wasn’t disappointed because these beautiful and lovely women accepted my invitation.

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